Let Go of the Shame

One of the best things for me about starting a low-carb/keto lifestyle and diving into learning all about health and nutrition was learning that I wasn’t to blame for my weight.

Let Go of the Shame
Photo by Julia Taubitz / Unsplash

One of the best things for me about starting a low-carb/keto lifestyle and diving into learning all about health and nutrition was learning that I wasn’t to blame for my weight. Not in the way we’ve been led to believe anyway. I always got so frustrated when I did all the things the experts said to do and I still couldn’t lose weight. I can’t tell you how many times I would end up in tears because I was eating such low calorie meals and I was working out regularly and there was no change in my weight at all. It was maddening! Then I discovered it wasn’t because of me and what I was (or wasn’t) doing - I was getting horrible advice!

Obesity is inexorably intertwined with shame because so many people believe that being fat reflects a person’s willpower and character. Obesity is completely different from almost every other disease because there is always the unspoken accusation that you did it to yourself and that you could have done something about it if you weren’t such a weak-willed person. Many physicians engage in fat shaming, too, thinking it will give their patients extra motivation to lose weight. I’m always perplexed by this tactic—as if it’s not enough that the whole world makes them suffer every single day, the last thing obese people need is to be shamed by a trusted medical professional. Who deserves the blame for the rise in obesity? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the “Calories In, Calories Out” model of weight loss. This school of thought may say, “It’s all about the calories,” but the hidden message is, “Your weight is all your fault.”
If you develop breast cancer, though, nobody secretly thinks that you should have done more to prevent it. If you have a stroke, nobody condescendingly tells you to “get with the program.” Because of “Calories In, Calories Out” (CICO), obesity has become a disease singularly unique in its association with shame. But the medical establishment, the government, and many diet “experts” are really just trying to deflect the responsibility from the horrible dietary advice they’ve peddled for decades.
- Jason Fung, Life in the Fasting Lane

I experienced that shame at the doctor’s office too and 27 years later it still pisses me off when I think about it. When I was young I was very thin and I never had to worry about what I ate. I didn’t have extra weight on me at all and life was grand. Then I had kids. Some women are lucky enough to have the genes that help them immediately lose that baby weight and get right back into their jeans after giving birth. I was NOT one of those lucky ones. Not only did I gain quite a bit of weight with both pregnancies, I also couldn’t lose it after I had them.

I was quite a bit heavier then I ever had been after my second child and I was doing everything I could to lose weight. As I mentioned above, nothing was working so I went to my OB for one of my checkups and told him about my struggles. His answer was to give me Slim Fast coupons. I was so shocked/angry/upset and couldn’t believe that was his way of helping me. I never went back to him. And I had been with him for years! But I didn’t want to go to someone who would be so dismissive and treat me like that.

Sadly, despite another doctor helping me figure out I had hypothyroidism, I still wasn’t able to get the help I needed and never could lose the weight. So I struggled for most of my adult life with extra weight that I couldn’t get rid of. But in 2019 everything changed. Someone my husband knew suggested we try keto and the rest is history. It completely changed our lives and I will never go back. Full disclosure - we do eat a meal with carbs every once in awhile but it almost always leaves us feeling blah and we decide it’s not worth it most of the time. There are some things that we can eat that don’t bother us as much so we might enjoy something rarely as a special treat but for the most part we avoid anything that’s high in carbs because it’s just not worth how we feel after eating it.

So all of that to say, don’t beat yourself up and let go of the shame if you’re overweight and you’ve been blaming yourself for years. Just as it wouldn’t be your fault if you had breast cancer, it’s not your fault you’re suffering from obesity. But the great news is there IS a cure! You can fix it with the right knowledge and education. This is why I’m so passionate about sharing the information I learn with others. I don’t want people to carry that burden like I did. I want to show you how to let that go and how to be healthy. It CAN be done with a change in diet and, while it might seem hard sometimes, it’s totally worth it.

What about you - have you experienced shaming from a medical professional?